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Society Lawyer (1939)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Music, Mystery  |  21 March 1939 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 108 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

Society lawyer Christopher Durant agrees to defend his friend Phil Siddall when Siddall is arrested for the murder of an ex-girlfriend. With the help of nightclub singer Pat Abbott and ... See full summary »

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(screen play), (screen play), 4 more credits »
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Title: Society Lawyer (1939)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Pat Abbott
Leo Carrillo ...
Tony Gazotti
Eduardo Ciannelli ...
Jim Crelliman
Lee Bowman ...
Phil Siddall
Frances Mercer ...
Sue Leonard
Ann Morriss ...
Judy Barton
Herbert Mundin ...
Layton
Frank M. Thomas ...
Lieutenant Stevens
Edward Brophy ...
Max (as Edward S. Brophy)
Tom Kennedy ...
Alf
Clarence Kolb ...
Mr. Leonard
Pierre Watkin ...
Henry V. Adams
...
Schmidt
Paul Guilfoyle ...
Murtock
Edit

Storyline

Society lawyer Christopher Durant agrees to defend his friend Phil Siddall when Siddall is arrested for the murder of an ex-girlfriend. With the help of nightclub singer Pat Abbott and crime boss Tony Gazotti (a former client), Durant launches his own investigation of the murder in order to prove his friend's innocence. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

See how a society lawyer and a night club beauty find romance...as they crack the riddle of " the perfect alibi murder case"! (original Herald) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 March 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Penthouse  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A plagiarism suit was filed by Robert Brister and Harry T. Bliven against the use of the title, but it was dismissed by the court. See more »

Connections

Followed by Stronger Than Desire (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm In Love with the Honorable Mr So & So
(1939)
Music and Lyrics by Sam Coslow
Played during the opening credits, the end credits and as background music often
Sung by Virginia Bruce (uncredited) in a nightclub
Reprised a cappella by her in Durant's apartment
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Did MGM plan a series out of this?
11 October 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I just saw this film on TCM and it was a pretty good product from MGM's B picture unit. Walter Pidgeon was stepping into Bill Powell's shoes as a slick society lawyer.

Pidgeon is a properly WASP attorney in what would now be called a white shoe law firm. But he has a taste for criminal law that doesn't sit well with the other members of his firm, including his prospective father-in-law. They agree to part professionally and later on Pidgeon's fiancé breaks off the engagement.

That sets off a series of events that has the fiancé's former boy friend on trial for shooting a girl he dumps. At that point Pidgeon's services suddenly become in great demand.

It really looked like this was a series that Walter Pidgeon may have been slated for. Playing his butler was Herbert Mundin who is always very funny. This was the last film that Herbert Mundin ever did, he was killed in automobile crash shortly after this film was made. Some of the incidents in the film with Mundin and Pidgeon are pretty funny as are those with Mundin and Virginia Bruce. He would have been an integral character in a running series. I'll bet that's why a series never developed.

Some of the plot was a bit too coincidental for my taste. Still the players are all good in this. Besides Pidgeon and Mundin, Virginia Bruce is a nightclub chanteuse who's introduced to Pidgeon by former gangster client Leo Carrillo who has a key role in solving the case. Lee Bowman is the framed society boyfriend, Eduardo Ciannelli is another gangster, Ann Morriss is the murder victim and Tom Kennedy and Edward Brophy play a pair of inept bodyguards that Carrillo sends to watch Pidgeon's back.

The film is a remake of MGM's earlier film Penthouse and since this one was now done under the Code, some of the innuendo of the older film has been left out.

For a film entitled Society Lawyer there isn't one courtroom scene. Still this looked like a promising film series, stillborn.


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